Jila Nikpay explores the themes of cultural memory and belonging in her photography and film, drawing from the experience of living between cultures. This temporal state of “between-ness” provides her fertile ground to interpret the external reality into a privately felt, internally experienced construct. Her open ended visual language exists at the intersection of contemporary western practices and the strong tradition of Iranian mystical poetry.
Nikpay’s films have been screened at Walker Art Center, MNTV, Arizona Film Festival, and other venues. Her photography has been the subject of solo exhibitions at Tehran Museum of Contemporary Art, Minnesota Historical Society and Print Center in Philadelphia. She is the recipient of numerous awards for her photography and films from the Jerome and McKnight foundations as well as the Minnesota State Arts Board. Her work is represented in public and private collections including Tehran Museum of Contemporary Art and Minnesota Historical Society.
Nikpay has taught photography for more than a decade at various colleges including, the Art Department at the University of Minnesota. She has been a guest artist at Minneapolis College of Art and Design, the University of Minnesota, Walker Art Center, and many other institutions. Her innovative educational projects with immigrant youth have received support from both the McKnight and St. Paul foundations.
In 2006, she published her first book of portraits and poetry as part of the Heroines Project. Heroines is an exploration into illness as a “rite of passage,” crossing the boundaries between health and illness. In this project, she collaborated with a number of performing artists, the University of Minnesota, and Open Book. Resume